Faculty News

Apr 25 2014

New Faculty

Professor, Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
PhD, Columbia Engineering, 1960; MS, Kyoto University, 1955; BS, Kyoto University, 1953

A world-renowned expert in earthquake and structural engineering, Masanobu Shinozuka’s research focuses on field theory and risk assessment methodology in civil engineering. He studies systems engineering, with an emphasis on structural and system reliability; risk assessment of lifeline systems, including water, electrical power, and transportation networks; and analysis of the socioeconomic impacts of natural disasters. Shinozuka is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a recipient of numerous national and international awards.


Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
PhD, Northwestern University, 2011; MA, Princeton University, 2008; MS, Stanford University, 2007; BS, UC Davis, 2005

Steve Sun works in the fields of theoretical and computational solid mechanics, poromechanics, and multi-scale modeling of fully coupled multi-physical systems. The objective of his research is to advance the understanding on multiphase materials under extreme conditions and enhance predictive capabilities for related engineering applications, including geological carbon sequestration, hydraulic fracture, and soil liquefaction. Prior to joining Columbia, he was a senior member of technical staff in the mechanics of materials department at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, CA.


Promotion to Full Professor

Industrial Engineering and Operations Research

Maria Chudnovsky joined Columbia’s IEOR Department in 2006. She specializes in graph theory and combinatorial optimization. Chudnovsky was part of a team of four researchers that proved the strong perfect graph theorem, a 40-year-old conjecture that had been a well-known open problem in both graph theory and combinatorial optimization. For this work, she was awarded the Ostrowski Foundation research stipend in 2003 and a Fulkerson Prize in 2009. In October 2012, Chudnovsky won a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, also known as a “genius grant,” further establishing herself as a leading scholar in the field of graph theory.


Electrical Engineering

Dan Ellis is founder and principal investigator at the Laboratory for Recognition and Organization of Speech and Audio (LabROSA), which is concerned with all aspects of extracting high-level information from audio, including speech recognition, music description, and environmental sound processing. His main focus is to develop and apply signal processing and machine learning techniques to extract high-level, perceptually relevant information from sound. Before joining the Engineering School, Ellis was a research assistant in the Machine Listening Group of the Media Lab at MIT and spent several years as a research scientist at the International Computer Science Institute at Berkeley.


Biomedical Engineering

Christopher R. Jacobs’s research focus is in determining the mechanism that allows cells to sense and respond to mechanical stimulation. Specifically, he is investigating how the biology of bone tissue is regulated by physical loading at the cell and molecular levels. Most recently his lab has shown that primary cilia, poorly understood antenna-like structures on the cell, function as load sensors. His numerous honors include the Van C. Mow Medal in bioengineering from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the 2005 Iwao Yasuda Award from the Society for Physical Regulation in Biology and Medicine. He also recently published a textbook entitled Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology.


Biomedical Engineering

Elisa Konofagou, who has a joint appointment in Radiology, joined the School’s Biomedical Engineering Department in 2003. Her work focuses on the development of noninvasive imaging techniques using ultrasound-based elasticity imaging techniques such as electromechanical wave imaging and pulse wave imaging. In the area of oncology, for example, Konofagou is developing a tool that could identify and destroy tumors without the need for surgery. Her technology, called harmonic motion imaging, uses ultrasound to probe soft tissues in search of abnormal growths. Konofagou was elected to the Board of Governors of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine in 2012 and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2014.


Biomedical Engineering

Helen H. Lu focuses on orthopaedic interface tissue engineering and the formation of complex tissue/organ systems, with the goal of achieving integrative and functional repair of sports-related and degenerative soft tissue injuries. Lu’s group is extending the interface tissue engineering approach to the repair of another critical soft tissue-to-bone transition area, the rotator cuff. Lu is developing special nanofiber-based scaffolds that mimic the native tissue in organization as well as functionality for integrative rotator cuff repair. In 2010, Lu was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at the White House.


Computer Science

Jason Nieh has made research contributions in software systems across a broad range of areas, including operating systems, virtualization, thin-client computing, cloud computing, mobile computing, multimedia, and performance evaluation. Nieh co-directs the Software Systems Laboratory and serves as chief scientist at Cellrox, a tech start-up that enables users to carry multiple phones on a single smartphone without compromising privacy or security. Honors for Nieh’s research include the Sigma Xi Young Investigator Award, given once every two years, an NSF CAREER Award, a Department of Energy Early Career Award, and five IBM Faculty Awards.


Promotion to Associate Professor

Mechanical Engineering

Arvind Narayanaswamy’s work is on understanding the thermal and electromagnetic properties of nanoscale materials, van der Waals and Casimir forces, near-field effects on radiative transfer, and control of far-field thermal radiation with periodic structures. The big picture goal is to use these fundamental studies for improvements in energy conversion and electronics cooling applications. His research group also has projects on interfacial fluid flow phenomena and pattern formation. He is actively involved in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Physical Society.